Kosovo’s football federation chief arrested in corruption probe

Kosovo’s football federation chief arrested in corruption probe
Kosovo Football Federation executives answer journalists' questions after federation head Agim Ademi's arrest. / Kosovo Football Federation
By bne IntelliNews March 23, 2023

The head of the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK), Agim Ademi, has been detained for 48 hours on suspicion of misuse of funds and tax evasion, a statement from the prosecution said on March 22. 

The specific nature of the misuse of funds Ademi is suspected of remains unclear, though it is understood to be related to his role as head of the FFK.

Ademi will be held while investigations into the case continue, the statement from prosecutors said. 

According to local media reports, other FFK officials were interviewed by prosecutors on March 21.

The FFK’s general secretary Taulant Hodaj told a press conference on March 22 that the federation is “open and transparent”, but criticised the manner and timing of the arrest, a statement from the federation said. 

He also complained that the scandal surrounding Ademi’s detention “had a negative impact on the footballers, who were disturbed by the recent actions and that this was a blow against the aspirations of the national team for the Euro 2024 qualifying cycle.” 

Kosovo’s nation team is due to play Israel on March 25 and Andorra on March 28 in its first qualifying matches for next year’s tournament. 

Hodaj added that the FFK believes Ademi will be found innocent, but that the federation will cooperate with the justice bodies in the case.

Ademi follows another scandal involving Kosovo’s football clubs related to rigged bets.

French media reported in February that nine people, including four Kosovan citizens, had been charged for involvement in a network involved in corruption and rigged bets on football matches in the Kosovo championship. The FFK said at that time it had immediately taken “necessary measures” to investigate.

Ademi, who has served as FFK chairman since July 2018, is no stranger to controversy. Only a week ago, Ademi was aquitted in a non-final ruling in another case where allegations against him were made more than ten years ago, in 2012, not related to football.

Specifically, he and an accomplice were accused of forcing a public official, by threatening him with death, to change the legal status of a plot of land from a green area to a building area. The two were accused of collecting benefits in the form of an SUV from the final beneficiary of the plot of land.